Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 2 August 2008

A dose of mountain dulcimer history throughout the year

Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 2 August 2008

Postby dbennett » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:43 am

Lloyd Allen Smith (1941-2008) died. Smith was born in Ohio.

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s folk music era Smith developed an interest in the Appalachian Dulcimer. In Urbana, Ohio, with his bride, Merrill Wadsworth, Allen taught high school and began to build dulcimers.

Later he accepted a teaching position at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales, U.K. There he and his wife lived in a 400 year old grist mill. From there Allen took a position at Simmons College in the College of Library Science, where he remained until his death. It was during this time that he renewed his interest in the Appalachian dulcimer. For several years he explored the Southern Appalachian regions cataloging and measuring instruments and interviewing owners of those instruments eventually publishing, A CATALOGUE of PRE-REVIVAL APPALACHIAN DULCIMERS, and was awarded a Doctorate of English from Leeds University.

In the Winter 2009 issue of Dulcimer Players News Ralph Lee Smith (no relation) wrote that L. Allen Smith was “...a pioneer field researcher in the history of the Appalachian dulcimer... [he] wrote “A Catalogue of Pre-Revival Appalachian Dulcimers” in 1983 and in 1979 the 818-page Ph. D. thesis on which that book is based, providing our first knowledge of the dulcimer that was based solidly on extensive, painstaking field research...”

His 1979 Ph.D. dissertation was titled, “The Appalachian Dulcimer to 1940: a census and typology of pre-revival eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century fretted zithers in the Upland South of the United States of with an analysis of their intervals.”

Smith traveled the Appalachian region during 1974-75, researching the dulcimer by locating individual dulcimers, documenting their characteristics, and the interviewing owners of those instruments.

In 1981, he received an Appalachian Studies Fellowship to continue his research into Appalachian music, specifically in Kentucky. His research and dissertation on the dulcimer while at Leeds became the basis for A Catalogue of Pre-Revival Appalachian Dulcimers published in 1983, and is now regarded as the authoritative historical catalog for Appalachian dulcimers. In 1986, Smith again received a fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Appalachia on the dulcimer.
Smith Allen L.jpg
smith allen2.jpg
Last edited by dbennett on Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Today In Mountain Dulcimer History: 2 August 2008

Postby kwl » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:11 am

Here is a link to L. Allen Smith's obituary:

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."
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